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As students head back to school, should parents worry about shootings? The math says no.

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A classroom supplies shelf.

USA TODAY, August 2023

The new school year is suddenly here. Students and their parents are heading off to local stores to stock up on school supplies. Meanwhile, ongoing news stories linked to the despicable acts of dispirited assailants from Nashville, Tennessee, Uvalde, Texas, and Oxford, Michigan, who targeted their local school provide no summertime respite from thinking – and worrying – about school shootings. 

By most any measure, fears concerning school safety are running high. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist national survey from May found that 40% of respondents felt that schools in their community were unsafe with regard to the risk of gun violence, up from 30% in 2019.

Moreover, according to last year’s Gallup polling, 44% of parents feared for their child’s safety at school, the highest level since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in April 1999. And 20% of these parents indicated that their child had expressed such concerns, a level only exceeded back in 2001. 

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